Reimagine Your Future – You Can Do It!
The future. I remember watching episodes of The Jetsons and imagining what life would be like if you could talk to and see people without wires attached, stand on a conveyor belt and move to your next destination, turn frozen food into meals in a matter of seconds, and allow technology to park your vehicle. The Jetsons caused us to view the future differently; they caused us to reimagine the possibilities. Of course, looking back we can now see how prophetic that cartoon was. Many of the things we take for granted today were rooted in an imagination that dared to think beyond societal limitations.
Today, we all choose one of two paths—the path rooted in societal norms or a path that requires us to reimagine the future. Everyone will make a choice. Choosing neither is impossible. It’s like being in a canoe and approaching a place where the stream splits into two waterways. If you let the stream choose for you, you’ll follow the strongest current. However, if you want to navigate the other stream, you’ll have to put your paddle in the water and redirect your canoe. The current will take you in a very predictable direction and the other stream will be left to those who dare to put in the work to explore it. That’s life today. Your future—regardless of whether you are 15 or 95—is predictable if you let society’s current direct your path. However, there are other options; but realizing them takes some effort.
Our traditional view of life is a simple arc. In our younger years, we have vivid imaginations because society’s influence on our lives is limited. We imagine becoming astronauts, professional athletes, business moguls, celebrities, and so forth. In looking up the left side of the arc, adulthood appears to be a stopping point on the journey to our wildest dreams. But, once we reach adulthood, the view changes. Only then can we see the downhill side of the arc. It looks much different than our wildest dreams. We see a downward path through retirement, old age, and eventually death. The optimism of our younger days quickly evaporates. The future doesn’t look so promising. In fact, it can look depressing. That’s the traditional view of life.
What Happens When You Reimagine Your Future?
The traditional view is the stream we all will travel unless we choose to take the other stream. The other stream is uncrowded and has scenery not visible on the traditional stream. Rather than coasting into the cemetery, people who choose that stream find a new energy, reengage their dreams, and create a life that is far greater than anything the traditional stream can offer. The good news is that anyone can reimagine their future. The bad news is that most people won’t do it.
Why Won’t People Reimagine Their Futures?
It’s simple. The pain of change is more powerful than the pain of going with the flow. In other words, people would rather follow an easy path toward mediocrity than follow a challenging path toward something more meaningful. As Charles Duhigg points out in his book, The Power of Habit, habits can be more powerful than common sense. So asking someone, “Would you rather wake up each day with meaning or just exist until the day you die?” might seem like a good question. Most people will tell you they want more, but when changing how they think comes face to face with how they’ve always done things, they choose the latter. Common sense will argue its case, but it will usually lose the argument. Habit wins almost every time.
Do you have the willpower needed to reimagine your future? Before you answer, consider this scenario. According to a 2017 article in USA Today, 55% of American take an average of four prescription medications. Let’s say you are among that group. Upon visiting a new medical professional, you are asked if you’d like to stop taking those medications. Most people would immediately say yes. Then comes the process—you need to eliminate some things from your diet. Now it gets scary. But there are only seven things you need to eliminate. You’re still a little nervous. Here are the seven things: dairy products, eggs, gluten, sugar, soy, corn, and peanuts. Eliminating those items from your diet will help you lose weight, give your gut time to heal, and show you how good you can really feel. In addition, you might be able to reduce or eliminate your medications.
The pain of change is more powerful than the pain of going with the flow. When faced with the situation above, most Americans will choose to keep taking their medications because changing their diets seems like an impossible task. What’s life going to be like without corn tortillas, piles of cheese, bread, and peanut butter? So, most people will never know if their lives can be better or if their chronic illnesses are connected to their diets. Going with the flow is easier than reimagining their futures.
The same is true for other areas of life—relationships, finances, employment, health and wellness, faith, and so forth. Doing something different—no matter how great the promises—is too much of a challenge for most people. So, they drift through life holding on to jobs they hate, waiting for the pension to kick in, so they can go home and…do what? Stopping through the drive-thru to grab a 1200 calorie burger meal is easier than making healthier choices. Adding to credit card balances makes it easier to have things you can’t afford to buy with cash. That’s how life goes…for most people.
Will You Reimagine Your Future?
I know it’s challenging, but I invite you to reimagine your future. Your path doesn’t have to follow the path most people travel. You can make wiser choices. You can overpower debilitating habits. You can reclaim your health without taking medication. The list of possibilities is impressive.
So, the question is simple—what’s more powerful in your life—your habits or your reimagined future?